It’s finally happened. The iPhone has peaked. We will finally begin to see a decline in sales of iPhones. Tim Cook had to present an outlook to share holders that show iPhone sales falling in the next quarter, along with total revenue.
Apple has built a company of nearly mythic proportions, based upon one product, the iPhone. $51.6 billion of its $75.9 billion in holiday-quarter sales were the iPhone. What is Apple to do? Cook presented plans of utilizing services and other products. What services does Apple have that can take over from the giant that was the iPhone? iCloud? It will be difficult for Apple to truly compete in the cross platform cloud space when their cloud was responsible for the most notorious leak of celebrities most personal photos ever. The Apple Watch? Priced as a luxury watch, yet based on tech that is constantly changing and will be upgraded at least annually. iTunes? Why, I think that’s already bleeding Apple users at maximum capacity. The iPad, who’s sales continues to disappoint when compared to the declining iPhone?
There’s simply not much left is there? What is Apple to do? The obvious answer would be for Apple to dump a large amount of the money that they have stored up in to research and development, to create a new generation of iPhone, which brings something new to the consumer as opposed to something “redesigned” that we’ve already seen on competing platforms in the preceding years.
Apple is not following the obvious. Instead, they’re taking a route that is ethically questionable, at the very least.
A few days ago Biggly wrote about “Error 53” . Error 53 is a new feature of iOS 9. A new feature that is bricking people’s iPhones. On purpose.
Let’s be very blunt about this, the iPhone is fragile. There is not a single one of us that has not seen iPhone users using iPhones with cracked or shattered screens. In fact, I just typed in to Google “cost to fix” and the very first suggestion was “cost to fix iPhone 6 screen”. The first link that pops up is from the known iPhone cheerleader site BGR which states a fee of $109-$129 to get fixed by Apple. Of course, at this point, there are kiosks in every mall that will do the same repair for less than half of that. However now, Apple is attacking those consumers that utilize these third party repairs. Not by simply voiding the warranty, which would be expected and reasonable, but by bricking the phone and making it unusable. And unusable forever as Apple will not fix this for users. All they will do is sell them another phone.
Let’s look at this in terms of any other product. Say you have a Mustang with a broken speedometer. If Ford followed the same policy of Apple, if you were to take this Mustang to your neighborhood mechanic and had the speedometer fixed, the car would no longer work. It would be a total loss. To take it further, you wouldn’t even be able to take your belongings out of the car, as it would be completely sealed off from you.
The same week this was being discovered and talked about, Apple changed the rules for it’s buy back program. Apple will now buy back broken iPhones. This is something that it has never done before. Trade-in values for iPhones with broken screens or buttons are $50 for an iPhone 5s, $150 for an iPhone 6 and $200 for an iPhone 6 Plus, to be used towards the purchase of another iPhone.
Think about this for a moment. If you have an iPhone 6 with a cracked screen, your choices are;
a) Continue to use it as is until you’re ready to buy a new iPhone.
b) Take it to a third party to repair at an affordable price, and now own a brick with a nice new screen and have to buy a new iPhone.
c) Have Apple fix the screen for minimum $109.
d) Sale the iPhone back to Apple for maximum $150 off the cost of a new iPhone 6.
When iPhone sales start to slump, does Apple come out with a more inviting product? No they do not. Instead, they choose to force current users to pay them more money, either in repair costs, or purchasing replacement phones. Ethical? I think not.